There was a remarkable and blistering editorial published last week in the Longview News-Journal. The paper’s editorial board writes about an email distributed by JoAnn Fleming to members of the influential East Texas tea party group she leads, Grassroots America-We the People (GAWTP).

In the email, Fleming complains of “the politics of personal destruction” as some members of her group reportedly lashed out at her, with insults, after GAWTP voted to withdraw its endorsement of controversial Texas State Board of Education candidate Mary Lou Bruner. Bruner subsequently lost her SBOE District 9 Republican runoff in late May.

Here’s the blistering part. Of the attacks on Fleming — she’s been told she’s “going to hell” for being a “turncoat” and a “Saul Alinsky acolyte,” among other things — the paper’s editorial board writes:

And this surprises her?

Over-the-top tactics have always been a part of her group’s playbook. There’s nothing new there. Of course, the words usually are directed at moderates or liberals (though there are few of the latter in East Texas).

Now, Fleming is learning firsthand that once the weaponry of personal destruction is used, it becomes the tool of choice.

In other words this is like far-right Republicans who have… Read More

An update has been added to the end of this post.

One more (possibly final?) thing on Mary Lou Bruner. As far as we can tell, she has not returned phone calls from reporters seeking comment on the election results that saw her lose the Texas State Board of Education Republican primary runoff to Keven Ellis of Lufkin.

But she still has the Facebook account where she made the many controversial comments that first made the SBOE District 9 race a national story. A few hours after the race was called, Bruner took to Facebook and offered a dignified concession:

While campaigning and traveling across the beautiful rural counties of Texas SBOE-9, I have been blessed to get to know so many wonderful families in North and East Texas.

I want to thank all of the faithful volunteers and friends who supported my candidacy and shared my dream of Texas schools returning to the traditional knowledge and skills that made the USA the leader of the world.

But then, the following day, she added another post in which she appears to call those who opposed her as “cock-roaches” and “evil.” She first refers to them as the “Establishment”… Read More

Rabbi Neal Katz, a TFN board member who lives in the Texas State Board of Education district Mary Lou Bruner was running to represent, asked us to share this message.

I’m breathing a sigh of relief today, and I hope you are too: Mary Lou Bruner, the State Board of Education candidate who peddled wild conspiracy theories and insulted teachers, was defeated last night in District 9’s run-off election.

That’s my district. My children go to public school here. That’s why I’m relieved she was defeated, and why I’m incredibly proud to serve on the board of the Texas Freedom Network.

Bruner was on a fast-track to the SBOE until TFN broke this story. And their relentless efforts ultimately derailed her campaign. Will you join TFN today as a member to sustain these crucial efforts in our state?

Truly, I’ve been worried the past few months about the possibility that Mary Lou would have any say in my children’s education — much less the five million students in Texas schools. Can you imagine science textbooks that tell students dinosaurs might still be around if Noah’s Ark had been bigger?

There’s no doubt in my mind Mary Lou Bruner… Read More

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller released the following statement regarding tonight’s loss by Mary Lou Bruner in the runoff for the Republican nomination for State Board of Education District 9:

“Texas escaped an education train wreck tonight. If Bruner had ultimately won election to the board, she would have instantly become the most embarrassingly uninformed and divisive member on a board that already too often puts politics ahead of making sure our kids get a sound education. We commend the majority of East Texas voters for their wisdom in this particular race.”

The State Board of Education sets curriculum standards and adopts textbooks for the state’s more than 5 million public school students.

The victor in the GOP runoff was Keven Ellis, a chiropractor and president of the school board in the East Texas town of Lufkin. Bruner, a retired educator from Mineola, drew national attention to the race with outrageous statements made on her Facebook page, in public forums and in media interviews. Among them:… Read More

You may have seen reports, like this one by the Associated Press, about a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook that will be submitted to the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) for approval and use in the state’s public schools.

That textbook is already generating controversy. Cursory reviews of the book show that it includes troubling passages like this one:

“Chicanos…adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.”

Just as troubling is who is behind this text. Cynthia Dunbar, a former SBOE member who believes public education is a “subtle tool of perversion” and the separation of church and state is a myth, owns the company that submitted this book. Dunbar doesn’t have any qualifications to create a Mexican-American studies textbook. And neither do her buddies at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University who helped her write this book.

We’ve known for some time that this book may be coming. And we’ve also known that Dunbar’s company was behind it. And as TFN has done with all textbook adoptions likely to be targeted by political activists like Dunbar, we prepared by lining up scholars and experts in the relevant field to review this… Read More